Plot: What’s it about?
The 2005 Summer movie season wasn’t nearly successful as in previous years, namely due to a certain little 5” disc. But that’s not to say that some movies still didn’t make a profit and one of those was Adam Sandler’s “The Longest Yard”. Fans of the movie will no doubt remember its predecessor by the same name starring a then at the top of his game, Burt Reynolds. Reynolds plays the Robert Conrad role in this version leaving the show to Sandler and his crew of ragtag inmates. Surprisingly this movie was very successful, raking in nearly $160 million at the domestic box office (nearly double its budget); not to say that it shouldn’t have been a success, but critics and audiences alike were really fond of this new installment.
What’s different, you ask? Not a whole lot which was my main problem with the movie. Now, I have to say that I did like this version but I prefer the older version and I’m about to tell you why…First off, Hollywood evidently isn’t going to stop re-making older movies – not until audiences stop showing up. So with that out of the way, I can say that this remake was so similar to the original (including near exact lines of dialogue) that I had to give the edge to the Reynolds version. It had more of a gritty look and feel and the characters seemed less cartoonish than the 2005 version. Still, the same story is in place and the actors ham it up with all their might – which worked.
We meet Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) as he’s downing a six pack, eating a bag of potato chips in the middle of a party. His girlfriend (a very voluptuous Courtney Cox-Arquette), gets mad, Crewe steals her Maserati and is apprehended by the police. Through a series of pulled strings, Crewe finds himself at a bleak Texas prison and immediately presented with an offer by the warden to help with the guards football team. After some convincing by the head guard (William Fichtner), Crewe rejects the offer only to rescind after the threat of facing 20 more years in the joint. Things don’t really get interesting until Crewe suggests that a “tune up” game be played, lest the guards lose. The warden (James Cromwell) likes the idea and empowers Crewe to form a team of his own to play against the guards. The rest of the movie consists of getting the team together, finally recruiting the black players to play and some witty banter between Sandler and fellow SNL alum Chris Rock (who plays Caretaker, the manager). Will the pros beat the cons?
“The Longest Yard” arrives just in time for football season to, ahem, kick off and it will no doubt be a big success on DVD. There’s a special edition of the original on DVD and I’d recommend that one in addition to this one. Sandler is relaxed and predictable as Paul Crewe though I thought Burt Reynolds brought a little more to the role. Most everything that worked in the original is present here, cross-dressing cheerleaders and all. And yes, in case anyone out there is wondering – Rob Schneider does have a cameo in this movie. It appears that as long as Adam Sandler has work as an actor, so will Schneider.
Video: How does it look?
“The Longest Yard” is shown in a 2.35:1 anamorphic image that looks great. The majority of the movie takes place in the Texas wasteland that they call a prison and as bleak and desaturated as it is, the colors still manage to pop. I’m a big fan of any sports movie being shown in a wider gauge (which this is) and every inch of the screen seems to be utilized here. I saw no evidence of artifacting or edge enhancement – all good things. Expect a great-looking transfer and Paramount has done a great job with this movie.
Audio: How does it sound?
One of the main differences between this version of “The Longest Yard” and its predecessor is the audio. Naturally, a movie made these days will sound far superior to one made thirty years earlier. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack rocks and with the urban soundtrack included, things get shakin’ really quick. The game scenes make full use of all the channels, and the LFE get things going as you literally feel every hit during the game scenes. Dialogue is clear and free of any distortion though there’s one character who has all of his lines with subtext – not sure why…
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc comes equipped with lots of stuff, though most of it is filler fluff. There are a few interesting featurettes in “First Down and Twenty Five to Life” and “The Care and Feeding of Pro-Athletes”. The first is a look at the story, the major players and the concept of the movie while the second one is, well – pretty self explanatory. There were several ex-NFL’ers in the movie and this focuses on them. There are some deleted scenes with optional commentary by Director Peter Segal (“Tommy Boy”) as well as a music video “Errtime” by Nelly (who also plays a part in the movie). Some outtakes, labeled “Fumbles and Stumbles” are also included but strangely no trailer. Fans of the original movie will enjoy this as well, I liked both and call me old fashioned but I liked the original better.